Likely Hezbollah Drone Explodes at Secret Israeli Airbase
An exclusive report from a confidential highly-placed Israeli source says that a booby-trapped drone crashed and exploded at the top-secret Israeli airbase Sdot Micha. Sdot Micha (also profiled here) is the home of the Israeli missile arsenal including its long-range Jerichos capable of striking Iran. There were civilian and military eyewitnesses to the crash, which happened within the perimeter fence of the facility, which covers a large area just outside Bet Shemesh.
The eyewitnesses and Israel’s wish to avoid pressure to retaliate against the Iranians, necessitated the publication of a media cover story. The story claims an advanced Israeli drone crashed near the Yesodot moshav, 10 miles from Sdot Micha. Israel also claims the drone took off from Tel Nof airbase. Eyewitnesses may be able to produce video documentation of the precise location of the crash unless it is impounded by the IDF.
The cover story reminds me in crucial ways of a similar one put out by the U.S. when it lost control of its advanced drone inside Iran. It did everything in its power to make the world believe that the drone crashed by accident and we vehemently denied it was brought down by Iranian electronic warfare capability. The more we denied the more people believed we were protesting too much.
Though crashing a drone inside Israel would appear to have Iran’s fingerprints all over it (they would certainly have greatest motivation), it’s hard to believe that Iran could fly a drone 1,000 miles with such precision. So blame will inevitably fall upon Hezbollah, a Syrian-Iranian ally, which often procures its most advanced weaponry from Iran. Hezbollah would’ve launched the drone from southern Lebanon. But I find it unlikely it could master the technological know-how to bring this off without Iranian engineering assistance.
There were no Israeli casualties and the drone explosion caused no significant damage at the base. But the very fact that Iran or its allies have escalated the psychological war of nerves in such a fashion will raise the temperature inside Israel once the true story is known. It will confirm among the hawks like Bibi, Barak and Bogie Yaalon the imperative to attack Iran. And the average Israeli man in the street will be that much more accepting of war given this new level of threat. But the “beauty” (if such a phrase is appropriate) of a drone attack is that, like the Mossad assassination of nuclear scientists, it’s hard to figure out precisely who is to blame for the attack. In that sense, it raises the temperature, but does so in a carefully calibrated way.
The fact that Israel could not detect such a threat and stop it before it did its damage indicates also some gaps in Israel’s defensive systems. Admittedly, drones are hard to defend against and Iran/Hezbollah may not have many at their disposal. But they clearly can do significant damage as we’ve seen from U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan. Imagine a drone equipped with a warhead (the current one appeared only to be booby-trapped, but not equipped with a warhead or missile) taking aim at the Kirya? That, of course, would be the next stage of development and one Israel might expect in the not too distant future. Certainly, a far more sophisticated step than merely crashing a drone into an airbase. But by no means beyond the realm of possibility for Iranian engineers at some point.
I have always argued that there is a price to pay for Israel’s black ops campaign against Iran. In this case, the price was very low. But it will not always be so. There’s always a price to pay. The only question is when you’ll have to pay and how much.
74 thoughts on “Likely Hezbollah Drone Explodes at Secret Israeli Airbase – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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The media reports don’t mention a missile. They say an Israeli drone crashed during an experiment. As for your conjecture, I’ll pass.
Right. A result of my quick, over hasty, down & dirty translation, which I’ve corrected.
Not commenting on the veracity of your report which I have just seen. But the damage done by the predator drones is done by the missiles they carry not by the drone itself and these are big machines that take years to develop. The Predator first test flight (to Adelaide of all places, if I remember correctly) was years before it was put into operation.
I’m not talking about physical damage. A booby trapped drone isn’t going to do much of that. But the notion that a drone can attack a top secret Israel base is big news & makes Israelis aware of vulnerabilities they didn’t realize they had.
No – the UAV that flew to Adelaide was Global Hawk – a much bigger machine with a much greater range. Predator does not have the range to fly from the US to Australia.
According to Wikipedia Predator was conceived in the early 1990’s and was operational by 1995 – not a long time for the development of a military system.
There are significant differences in Hebrew (http://www.haaretz.co.il/1.1628411) and English (http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/military-drone-crashes-near-central-israel-town-1.409809) versions of this. The Hebrew is much more detailed.
Can’t comment on the credibility of neither.
RS says: “But the very fact that Iran or its allies have escalated the psychological war of nerves in such a fashion will raise the temperature inside Israel once the true story is known.”
Where did this FACT come from? Why not “Israeli false flag” ?
Doesn’t that (also a speculation) fit better with known technological know-how?  Israel has the drones and knows how to direct them.  Israel knows where its airbases, etc., are located.  no damage was done.  Why would Iran (or Hezb) want to tip their hand and say, “Look at how tech advanced we are, we can show we can direct drone, find air-base, and DO NO DAMAGE!
Just asking, you know.
In fact, why not simply assume (seems most likely) that an Israeli drone (possibly misdirected) and armed with a very, very small bomb (why?) hit an Israeli missile base and exploded.
So simple an explanation, though a bit undignified (for Israel).
Does an Israeli-national-need-for-omnipotence require DENYING that an Israeli drone (or its director) malfunctioned (by accident or on purpose)? Shall we [USA does as it is told, when the teller is Israel] go to war because Israelis are too proud to admit error?
Why not? Because you are speculating & a former senior Israeli minister offered this story to me well before the cover story was even published, before any member of the Israeli public knew about it. His bona fides outweigh yr speculation I’m afraid.
I, too, am having some problems with these “facts.” What are we saying here?
Are we saying Iran/Hezbollah hacked an Israeli drone, landed it (where?), loaded it with explosives, and flew it to Sdot Micha where they were then not able to fly it into any targets?
I don’t think so. If you can land one of these things intact on your own runway, you can certainly control it well enough to fly it into your enemy’s missile silo. Or downtown Tel Aviv, or . . .
How would anyone know so soon that it was booby-trapped? That would take some pretty serious post-crash investigation.
I would be a lot less skeptical of the speculation that Iran got control of this done while it was over Iran and flew it back to Sdot Micha and crashed it there. This would be a very, very powerful statement. Still can’t understand why they didn’t hit anything, unless they just wanted to send a message. My GE shows me the Sdot Micha missile silo coordinates within tens of feet.
We know from the US drone case that Iran has good 2-D control of commandeered drones but has trouble landing them without damage. So they have the demonstrated capability to hijack one in the air and re-route it, but maybe not so good when it comes to putting them on the ground precisely where they want them.
But anyway you look at it, this is very significant information. I have not seen or heard a word of this anywhere else.
BTW, Omama asked for his drone back. If they are being loaded with explosives, he might want to re-think that request. I would laugh if Ahmadinejad landed that thing at Andrews AFB.
I thought that Iran was offering to send Barack Obama a model of the drone they redirected?
They knew it was booby trapped because it exploded. That didn’t take any research whatsoever. It happened right before the eyes of those who discovered it & anyone from the public who saw from the nearby road. Don’t assume it was flown all the way from Iran. That makes little sense. LEbanon is far more likely.
So your theory is:
1. Iran or Hezbollah intercepted an Haron over Lebanon
2. The gained positive control and land it.
3. They loaded him with explosives
4. they crashed it over some citrus orchard
In the interview with tal schnider you stated that you communicate with a source via a middle man who works in a media organization.
usually there is a delay from the time a news piece as arriving at the center till it is being published. That’s all.
My source said a booby trapped drone crashed & exploded at Sdot Micha. The rest is yr speculation.
I guess this is becoming the American version of the notorious Debka Files.
The drone that crashed today was “IAI Eitan”, the incident took place during a test flight.
as for the crash site,near kibutz Hafetz-Hayim, it is the opposite direction from Sdot-Micha.
enough with the bobe maises will ya ?
What never ceases to amaze me about the hasbaristas is that whatever the IDF tells them is halacha l’Moshe mi’Sinai. You’re regurgitating what the IDF has told the Israeli media. And you know this is the truth because…?? Have you seen any images of the crashed drone? Have you seen the crash site? Do you know anyone who has?
It is you, credulous you, who will end up being the fool here for believing the lies you are told & doing so dutifully like Good Soldier Schweik.
Yes i saw the crash site, on TV with the rest of state.
I think it was posted by Nathanial, or didn’t you see that ?
you know that the Haron wing is as big as a 737 wing right ?
so planting the wing in the citrus orchard as part of the ubber sophisticated conspiracy isn’t likely.
I’m just wondering if that ubber secret source you have isn’t voices in your head 🙂
Hey, that’s funny. I have enough experience with others who face real mental problems that the voice in my head has decided to ban yr ass. Next time you want to crack a joke think twice about who you might be insulting & how boorish it makes you appear.
Richard. A ban seems a bit excessive in this instance.
Perhaps. I have a relative who has heard voices in his head & have no patience for people who make light of mental illness even in jest. Once you have lived in proximity to such things you don’t joke about it & don’t enjoy others doing so.
My own 85 y.o. mother suffers from dementia and auditory hallucinations yet I don’t see how a ban is warranted.
And if I was prevented from speaking my mind or if I couldn’t joke a bit than I don’t know if I’d be able to cope with her illnesses.
Would you tell someone with whom you were having a political argument that they had dementia? I can’t stand that sort of ad hominem argument.
What can I say, the carping of the hasbarists gets to me sometimes. I’ll reconsider based on the considerations you raise.
Oh, & if you are also ProudZionist777, pls stick to one nickname. Having multiple ones is too confusing & too prone to manipulation & shenanigans when some people take on different fake personas. It’s happened here before.
i am sorry you took my joke way out of context.
I had no way of knowing of your personal experience with the subject. and it was a joke, as you correctly recognized.
I think that someone is taking advantage of you, and is trying to compromise your credibility.
if you want to see a c130 who’s wings collapse amid air…
usually when a structural damage to such extent happens…the wing for the most part will remain intact. the body…nothing will remain of it.
You’re only the 80th or 100th reader who’s suggested that I’m mentally ill, delusional, hearing voices, need help, etc. It gets very, very old after a while. So keep your comments to substance & don’t even in jest detour in non sequiturs & ad hominem insults. Remember, what seems cute, funny, witty or whatever to you may come across entirely differently to others.
A video and pictures from the crash site are available on Ynet:
This is a wreckage of the IAI Eitan UAV. The current reports from the Zionist propaganda channels are operator error possibly resulting from installation of some sort of new sensor on one of the wings. It is a total lost – 5 million dollars worth of damage.
But again – never trust the IDF, Hasbara or whomever. This might be a cover up!
I wonder if you’ll have the honesty to admit that you’ve been hoodwinked, after footage explicitly shows the downed wing as belonging to an “Eitan” UAV.
Your “highly-placed” source is simply trying to discredit you.
I’ll be happy to read that he admits his mistake, in light of this conclusive evidence, but somehow I’m skeptic.
Well… you can’t claim to be right all the time if you want to be held credible 🙂
“Conclusive evidence?” Of what? Have you ever heard of a wing falling off one of Israel’s most advanced drones? And if this is one of Israel’s most advanced drones why in God’s name would it allow the media to see this wing which cost tens of millions of dollars to develop and needs to be kept away from the prying eyes of Israel’s enemies? And where is the rest of the drone that crashed?
Who says that the military ‘let’ them see the wing? It’s possible that media could’ve gotten there before a cordon. And it’s entirely possible for a drone to crash; it happened in 2010 when a Rochev Hashamayim drone crashed in Gaza.
I’m not a crash forensic, or wreckage forensic, or whatever, so I can’t say whether or not a wing breaking off is possible. But looking at the picture, I (personally) can’t see anything; the picture of it on Wikipedia provides a better image.
I dunno. Doesn’t really seem too conclusive.
That’s not what happened. Didn’t you even watch the video. It clearly shows uniformed police & IDF viewing the wing. If the wanted no video they would’ve declared it a closed military zone as they do regularly in the Territories during protests. But they didn’t do that. They could also censor the photos & video but haven’t done that either because they want these images seen by the Israeli public.
I did see it, but I’m a bit confused by your reasoning. They wanted to let people see the wing of a Hezbollah drone (that they’re secretly covering up according to your source), to hide the wing of a IAF drone so its enemies can’t see the wing of a UAV that cost tens of millions of dollars to develop?
I apologize if I misread what you’ve said.
Oy there seems to be a bout of illiteracy afflicting the hasbara crowd over the past few days. You people need to learn to read. The wing in the orchard is that of an Israeli drone. As for the rest of your convoluted argument you’ll have to work that out yrself. I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Why do you assume I’m a illiterate hasbarist? Because I politely asked for clarification, and apologized for any misunderstanding in advance? Dimi Reider is skeptical as well; is -he- a hasbarist? And yes, he was off the mark about the 1,000 mile distance; his article wasn’t perfect.
I apologize. I was confusing your comments with those of another commenter. My error. There are skeptics of varying degrees to this story & I confused you with someone else.
I called most of those who chortled & criticized my source’s version of events “illiterate” because if they bothered to read my post they didn’t portray it accurately in their criticism of it.
Apology accepted. It’s easy to get confused about things that happen in the Middle-East, or war, or politics, or…
Actually, it’s easy to get confused in general.
The UAV in question is far from top secret – it was publicly exhibited at numerous airshows, exported and photographed – they is nothing secret about an aircraft wing.
As eye witnesses have reported, the wing snapped off in mid-air, so it stands to reason the wing is not in the same frame as the rest of the body.
Honestly – your blog has exposed some important stories, there’s no reason to let yourself be misled on such an obvious case.
Israeli reporting says that the drone was experimental testing new sensors carried on the wing, which is what separated fr the drone body, which crashed inside an airbase (though the story doesn’t say which one. Your information is wrong or incomplete.
Uhh…Your going to blow your source’s cover.
Man, that orange crop is beautiful. Did the Palestinians plant those trees, or the Israelis?
As I understand it, Richard is asking us to believe his unidentified, spooky “source” who says this thing was booby trapped, exploded, and came down near a nuke base at Sdot Micha v. Israeli TV shots of the crashed drone near kibutz Hafetz-Hayim.
Who ya’ gonna’ believe? Well, for one thing, if this thing blew up, why is that wing in such good shape in the vid?
Sumthin’ ain’t addin’ up.
‘a confidential highly-placed Israeli source’ whispers in Richard Silverstein’s ear, sending him spinning off in a desperate flurry of finger pointing. Hilarious stuff.
“the very fact that Iran or its allies have escalated the psychological war of nerves in such a fashion ” It’s a sorry day when an author can’t tell the difference between a fact and their own speculation.
“it’s hard to figure out precisely who is to blame for the attack” To be sure, especially when it very likely wasn’t an attack
“In that sense, it raises the temperature, but does so in a carefully calibrated way” Uh, who is trying to raise the temperature by speculating ‘in a carefully calibrated way’?
“The fact that Israel could not detect such a threat..” another spectaculated ‘fact’. Israel has no radar? AMAZING!!!!
“Admittedly, drones are hard to defend against and Iran/Hezbollah may not have many at their disposal” … spectacularly speculative hyperdrivel…
And now everybody knows the location of a secret missile base in Israel.
Everyone in Israel knows where this base is. Some secret. The missile arsenal & it’s capabilities are a slightly better kept secret.
The simple fact is that if my story is correct Israel could not stop this drone from crashing into its most secret missile base, whether it detected it or not.
Keep doing the good work and reporting the truth.
“Because you are speculating & a former senior Israeli minister offered this story to me well before the cover story was even published, before any member of the Israeli public knew about it. His bona fides outweigh yr speculation I’m afraid”
What outweighs your own speculation which is quite plentiful? Say……… maybe the ‘confidential highly-placed Israeli source’ was speculating? Or likely just planting BS for some unsuspecting sod to run with. Never mind Richard, you’ve served your purpose http://www.google.com/search?q=Hezbollah+Drone+Explodes+at+Secret+Israeli+Airbase – rest assured, it will never be fully retracted
How did my source know about the crash before any Israeli media outlet had published anything about it? Was that BS? Or are you the BS?
Anyone in the Israeli Airforce / IAI would have known about this hours before the news got hold of the story. If someone is pulling your leg (as it now seems obvious), all he would of had to do is let you in an hour or two before the press.
What is curious about the naysayer crowd is that they advance theories that have no basis is fact or even credibility. Why would the IAF have known about the crash “for hours before the news got hold of the story” if there were eyewitnesses to the crash who would’ve surely reported it themselves. What century do you live in? The 17th?
As to what is obvious or not obvious–I don’t think we’ll trust yr judgment on that matter.
“….it raises the temperature, but does so in a carefully calibrated way.”
This does not add up.Right now Iran wants to buy time, not provoke significant others.
In eight to eighteen months from now,when their nuclear installations are secure (and if President Obama is reelected) they may choose to taunt and challenge Israel in order to assert their new status in the ME but why would they want to do so now?
You think advanced U.S. drones overflying their nuke installations & dead scientists & generals don’t provoke an interest in a response regardless of any long term strategic plan?
Yes there are those in Iran who would want to respond immediately to American and Israeli provocations but I believe that the stakes are now too high and Sayyid Ali Khamenei is is too pragmatic focused on the endgame to allow the hotheads to react impulsively now.
…..but then again maybe I’m wrong!
Governments have created events like this in the past to psychologically ready their citizens for confrontation in a war. One way or another, this is bad.
KA-BOOOOOOM!! Music to our ears.
But, 1st Amadinejad must work out the ‘demo’ nuke from ‘Pakistan’ and then hopefully we can send the Dow Corning (oder free) zippered body bags. Is it 1,000 or 10,000?
If this is an Iranian sourced event, then the message must be something to the effect that Iran can do this, penetrate to the “secret” missile site and deliver a payload, however symbolic for now. That’s a sobering message aimed at Israeli decision makers. It says that, no matter what, Israel is not going to get away from meaningful retaliation. This would be an important message, not an escalation.
Plausible and in that scenario Israel would think twice before attacking Iran but I believe that the decision makers in Israel are aware that the retaliation for any attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would would be too unpredictable and the benefits from any such limited attack would be too short lived to make any feasible attack a worthwhile proposition.
Israel simply does not have the resources to mount an effective bombing campaign on all of Iran’s nuclear assets for the time span needed to significantly degrade them.
Lead me to the alter to be slaughtered after this, okay.
Some Jews will sell their own mother for the right amount. anyway I have heard from guys in the trade that some drone technology was indeed sold from Israel to Iran and a few technologies to go with it, yes Iran have indeed purchased some Santa Goodies from an Israeli street vendor. that will make some sense into Silverstein’s reporting. As always I know nothing….
Lord protect us from idiot trolls like you. You’re now moderated & if you pull this crap again you’re gone.
Richard, if anyone wanted to attack an Israeli base from a distance, they’d use a missile. Drones are either for launching missiles, surveillance or both. If you attach a ‘warhead’ to it it becomes a weak, very slow, hard to target missile. Considering Israel can hit a supersonic ABM with the Arrow anti-ABM system, shooting a propeller driven drone down would be a minor diversion for their military.
As for ‘booby trapping’ it, I think you’d have to be fairly crazy to have a drone which exploded on impact when you have to keep landing it on home territory; one slightly hard landing and there goes your drone and runway – at best. The usual system is to bomb your top secret technology when it lands in the wrong place, as the US did with their helicopter on the Bin Laden raid and, I think, Israel with their Merkava MK4s in Lebanon.
I don’t quite understand some of the vitriol directed at you for this piece but nonetheless, it is a very far fetched story you’re offering.
Sorry seems to be the hardest word.
Neither do I tend to trust military spokespeople on any controversy, but here – weighing all in – Occam’s razor seems to be cutting their way.
Never mind, RS, we win some we lose some – better do and err, occasionally, than sit on your hands.
Another great post!
Richard, I am just curious about the source of this story. Is this your regular source on Israeli military affairs – the one you described in the past as belonging to the circles of Defence Minister Barak?
Also, can you — without endangering the source — say a word about how you verify the authenticity of the source’s identity. I am not maven in journalism, but I assume that if you cannot meet him (not her, I assume) face-to-face, you are always in the dark about the source’s true identity.
I’m really confused. What is your claim Richard? What are all these Hasbara responses about? Not following Israeli media- it is hard to get the full picture.
OK, so you say that a drone exploded in Sdot Micha, and that the IDF made up a cover story about its own drone losing control.
Now, people are here writing about a wing in a citrus orchard. There is this video in a Hebrew site. I see a wing but cannot read what it is about.
Is this video cooked by the military? Did they place a real wing for the cover-up? or it is the wing of the booby-trapped drone?
Can you just put order into things?
The Drone was an iranian flied by Hezbollah & Pasdaran engineers to show how the comming war could be! It was not carrying a warhead yet, because it was expected to be shot down by IDF above libanese territories causing injuries among libanese civilians. The next one will surely equipped with a high-explosive warhead targeting israeli nuclear bases!
Please. I don’t know whether to take you seriously or whether you’re a troll. If the former, there’s a diff. bet what you wish for & what can or will happen.
most people tend to forget, but the 73 war started with an unmanned booby trapped aircraft flown from Lebanese soil to Tel- Aviv, presumably to the kyria. It was shot down by an Israeli fighter jet over seas a few minutes before it crashed into the city.
As terrifying as the notion might be, it has already happened…
The 1973 War began when the Egyptian army crossed the Suez Canal and attacked the Israeli army on the other side. The drone story may be true, but it didn’t cause or start the war.
Actually dear sir, i wasn’t trying to discredit your report, nor was i trying to play “gotcha” as you replayed earlier. As an Israeli citizen I believe that my government is hiding stories from me, to her or my benefit, that’s why I frequently attend your blog. I guess that the years of trying to rebuttal people who are trying to discredit you have made you cynical to some extent.
The 73 war officially started with the joint attack from Syria and Egypt at 13:55 on October 6th, 1973. The unmanned aircraft attack, though, was preformed before they engaged the Israeli army at the Suez canal and the Golan heights.
I was merely trying, to my humble opinion, add a factor that I felt was missing from your report.
Again, as an Israeli citizen I feel i’m in no position to refute your story.
Nathan, you just made a huge mish mash.
The opening move by the Egyptian air-force, was the firing of a KSR-2 missile launched from a TU-16 over the Mediterranean Sea directed at the Kyria. The missile was shot down by an IAF Mirage IIIc
I just happen to know the pilot who shot it down… check your sources, i’m 100% percent certain that i’m right about this fact
The KSR-2 was shot down by Eitan Karmi who piloted Shahak 59.
Given that the US has recently resolved to develop more intelligence on Israel, to make up for what they are not told by their “ally”, let alone the deliberate lies, has anyone considered the possibility that this was a US drone and the IDF shot at it, or jammed its navigation system?
It’s certainly true that both the USA and Canada need to regard Israel as a counter-espionage target, because Israel isn’t shy about running either soruces or agents of influence in North America.
Truth is stranger the fiction.
Look what we are still learning about WWI and WWII
All that’s required is to program the UAV with GPS coordinates and the have it crash into those coordinates. A high school student could accomplish this. Now that Iran has access to stealth technology their is nothing Israel can do.